Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cincinnati Style Chili

I had heard of Cincinnati style chili before, but never had the chance to try it. The other day I was trying to decide what I want to make next for my blog when I saw something on the Food Network about some restaurant in Ohio that famous for their chili (can't remember the restaurant or what show it was) and thought it looked delicious.

Cincinnati style chili is more like a sauce than a chili. It was first made by Macedonian immigrants who wanted to expand their restaurant menus. It consist of not only traditional chili ingredients like chili powder and cumin, but has some unusual ones like chocolate, cinnamon, and vinegar. I like savory/sweet combinations so I knew I was going to like it. The real version has worcestershire sauce (not vegan since it is fish based, though there are some vegan versions out there) and ground beef. I omitted the worcestershire and used Smart Ground Veggie Protein Crumbles instead of beef.   

The chili is normally served over spaghetti or a hot dog since it is more sauce-like, though it is good enough to eat on its own. I got to give it you Cincinnati, you make a very fine chili. I will definitely make this again sometime. This recipe is based on one from foodnetwork.com called Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Style Chili

  • 1 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 fps ground cumin
  • 1 fps ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili turmeric 
  • 1 package Smart Ground Veggie Protein Crumbles  
  • 1/4 cup red wine 
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar 
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato sauce (I used a pasta sauce) 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsweetened chocolate
  • Salt and pepper to taste 





Heat cooking spray in a large pot over medium heat. I made mine in sauce pan but I only made a single serving. Add the onions and garlic, cooked until the onions are translucent. 



Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric. Thoroughly coat the onions and garlic. 



Add the protein crumbles and cooked until the crumbles are heated through. Don't worry if the spices start to stick to the bottom of the pot. 



Add the wine, soy sauce and vinegar to deglaze the pan, make sure to scrap all the brunt/stuck stuff off the bottom of the pan. 



Next add the tomato sauce and chocolate, mix together well. 



Cook for about 15 minutes until the chili tightens up a bit more.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 










I boiled up some pasta (ok, it's actually ramen noodles, I didn't have any spaghetti on hand and I am a college kid!) and slathered the noodles with the chili. Traditionally, the dish is then topped with kidney beans, onions, and TONS of cheddar cheese. I just went with some kidney beans to keep it healthier. 


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Brown Rice Sushi

If, hypothetically---not like that one of my friends ever did this---you are at a sushi restaurant that says each order comes with 6 to 8 pieces,  don't assume you get to pick whether you want 6,7,or 8 pieces. Because, hypothetically still, if each of you order 6 of your choice of sushi (thinking that means 6 pieces only) and say you had 3 people eating, that means you get 18 orders of sushi. Eighteen orders of 6-piece sushi would be 108 pieces and will take up two large trays. And, if this ever actually happens, don't be the friend who just sits there even though it sounds odd when the waiter repeats back 6 orders of sushi each. But, if this does happen, make sure one of your friends can take home the remaining 10 orders of sushi and be forced to eat them for the next few days. Not that my friends and I ever let this happen....hahahaha

Anyways, my friend reminded me of this (hypothetical) story today, so I thought I attempt to make sushi again. I have tried a few times before and failed horribly. So I watched some videos on Youtube first and figured out what I was doing wrong.

I did not take pictures as I was making the sushi because, to be honest, I did not have high hopes for myself. But they came out good. Follow the steps in this video just like I did and you should be successful. I used different ingredients then what she uses in the video because hers are not vegan. You can put in whatever fillings you like really, these were just what I have on hand. You can use traditional or get creative. Mine aren't typical but not too crazy. I used brown rice instead of white because it is more nutritious. 

And I have no idea why the lady is cooking with her dog. At least the dog is cute! 


Brown Rice Sushi
2 cups cooked brown rice
3 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs sugar 
1 tsp salt
2 sheets of toasted nori
Tofu, sliced into thin strips 
Dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated (I marinated them in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger too)
Handful of kale leafs





Follow the directions in the video (just minus the meat and non-vegan stuff), it explains it better than I can. It's not that complicated, you just need the right technique. My recipe makes about two, 1 inch rolls. 







I wish I had some pickled ginger on the side, would have been the perfect finishing touch. I should have cut them a little smaller too. Oh well, next time. I am very proud of my first successful sushi meal. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barszcz: Polish Beet Soup

I've always wanted to try borscht, called barszcz in Polish. I love the taste of beets and figured all those jokes about the soup being awful soup were from McDonalds-addicted, over-processed food lovers. Now that I've tasted it, I know that is exactly the case. It has a mild and slightly rich flavor, totally in love.  My mom say it's ok, but my grandma said she loves it too. Although she loves, my mom said she didn't make it very much while my mom was growing up because my grandpa hates beets. Apparently he didn't even want them in the house! I must confess that grating beets is a pain, so I shared my grandpa's hatred while I was prepping everything at least. This recipe is based on one from cooks.com called Polish Beet Soup.




Barszcz
4 cups water
1/2 stick of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 good-sized beets
1 medium-sized onion
Salt
















This part really sucks to do. I suggest wearing gloves so your hands do not turn bright red.  Peel and grate the beets and onion.



Add the 4 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the vegan butter.



Once the butter has melted, add the grated vegetables and salt to taste.

Cook for about 1/2 an hour, until the beets and onions are cooked.









If you want hot soup, serve it immediately. But I wanted mine cold so I made mine earlier in the day and then let it chill till dinner.

Top with some vegan sour cream (try Tofutti) and some dill or chives. My dad and I loved it, my mom wasn't a big fan. I guess she takes after her dad.

One last Polish recipe posting up soon.


Polish Rye Bread

The Polish side of is calling out again. I am heading back to Hawaii in a few days and won't have my lovely parents to cook for. So I decided to make Polish food for dinner tonight, embrace our heritage once again. Like I said on my pierogi post, a lot of polish food is not vegan so I need to change the recipes a bit. But despite the lack of eggs or pork here and there, they are pretty authentic.

I have never had barszcz, Polish variant of borscht, so I thought give it a try. I love beets so why not try a beet soup? While I was looking for recipes online, a bunch more Polish recipes came up too. I asked my mom what kluski is and when she explained they are delicious little homemade noodles, I knew I had to make them. Then I thought well, what would a Polish dinner be without kapusta? Kapusta is pretty much just plain sauerkraut and it is delicious....makes the house stink though. 

Then I thought a nice home-baked rye would go lovely with the barszcz so I added that to the list too.  I love its dry but savory taste. Plus, my dad was practically drooling over some we saw on TV last night so I figured he would be happy. 

Rye bread is not that complicated to make, just like with any bread you just need to be patience and not overwork it. And it's already vegan! I found a recipe for a simple breadmaker version called Polish Rye Bread on Group Recipes, but adapted it for normal baking methods. 



Polish Rye Bread
1 cup warm water
1 packet dry yeast
1 and 1/2 tbs molasses  
3/4 cup rye flour
2 cups bread flour
2 tps caraway seeds
1 tps salt 
1 tbs vegetable oil 










Dissolve the packet of yeast into the warm water. I suggest doing this in a measuring cup. Add the molasses. Stir lightly if needed. Set aside until it all bubbly and frothy. 



I did my mixing and kneading in a stand mixer. I wish I had one of these in Hawaii. Can't wait to not be a broke college kid and have a real kitchen. In the mixer bowl, add both flours, caraway seeds, and salt. Mix together well by hand. 



Turn on the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add the yeast mixture. Use bread hook attachment. Then add the oil. Continue mixing until smooth and slightly elastic. 



Remove the bowl from the stand, cover with plastic wrap (I suggest putting a rubber band around it too) and cover with a dish towel (Ĺ›cierka in Polish, I've been taught a few random words). Put in a warm place like the laundry room to proof. If you live in humid place, that's really not an issue so just set aside anywhere really. My bread proofs so quickly in Hawaii. 

Momma rolled it out for me.






Once it's risen, punch it down again. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll the dough out on it a bit. Shape into the size of pan.

Spray a bread pan with cooking spray and place in the dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and a clothe again, then set aside to proof a second time. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  

Once it's risen the second time, pop it in the over for 20 minutes. My mom made the suggestion of putting some hot water in a pot in with the bread to help crisp up the crust. 




Next, remove the pot of water and remove the bread from the pan. Put the freed bread back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Your baking times may vary based on your oven. 






My bread skills need some work...my bread came out kinda dense. But  it was still pretty good. Like I said, if you are patience and take your time, your bread should come out lovely.  I would suggest more salt, my mom thinks more molasses. 


It smells so good. 
I'll post the rest of the Polish recipes later. Still in the process of cooking all of them! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rhubarb Bars

I was looking through the new recipes on VegWeb and came across one called Rhubarb Bar for the Herbivore. There was a bunch of rhubarb in my mom's garden that needed to be picked, so I thought I would give this recipe a try. I used whole wheat pastry flour and less butter in the crust to make it more nutritious. I also did not need as much sugar as the recipe calls for, and I thought my rhubarb was pretty sour to begin with. Just preference I guess.




Rhubarb Bars
Crust:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbs powdered sugar
2 tbs vegan butter
2-3 tbs of water

Filling:
2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup raw sugar
2tbs Enger-G egg replacer
4 tbs water
1/4 cup flour







Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a small square pan with cooking spray.





In a small bowl, add the flour and butter. Then squish together by hand. Add the water as needed until the dough is crumbly.



Press the dough down into the bottom of the pan firmly.

Bake for 15 minutes. It should still be pale but a little firmer.



While that bakes, peel and chop the rhubarb into bite size pieces. Check out my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie post on how to prep rhubarb.



In a large bowl, add the rhubarb and all remaining ingredients. Mix together well. Taste for sweetness, you may need more sugar depending on preference and the sourness of your rhubarb.


Once the crust is baked, pour the filling in while the crust is still hot.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is bubbling.




Let it cool before cutting and serving. I topped it with a little powdered sugar for fun.

If you have never had rhubarb before, I would not suggest this recipe. But if you like a little tartness, give this a try. It's a nice change from a big heavy dessert.


*PS, my dad pretty much devoured this tonight. When he really likes something, he will eat the whole thing. So if you are a rhubarb fan, this is the dish for you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Parents' 27th Anniversary Dinner, Part 2: Antipasto and Pizza

Sorry it took a couple days to post part two of my parents' anniversary dinner, I got distracted spending time with my family. The dinner was delicious and my parents were very happy. My brother had to work, so it sadly was not a family dinner. I made an antipasto platter with some marinated veggies, and provolone and prosciutto. I didn't eat the meat and cheese, that was for my parents. Like I've said before, if you are crazy oversensitive about veganism, no one will like you. If you don't ever let others have meat or dairy near you, they just won't have you around. I like eating meals with my family and friends, so I just let it go. Just because they are eating meat and cheese, doesn't mean you have to.

Anyways, I also made them a pizza margarita with real fresh mozzarella and fresh basil from my mom's garden.  For myself, I made two mini pizzas. One was a based on a recipe I saw in Cooking Light for a Summer Veggie Pizza with fresh grilled veggies. The second was a fake BBQ chicken pizza. There was small oven-transferring accident for the summer pizza so I do not have a final picture of pie, but I promise it was good.

I must confess, I did not make the pizza dough. I had so much stuff to make, the last thing I wanted to do was watch yeast proof. I also did not pre-bake the dough this time because my mom has a pizza stone so the oven gets hot enough to make a crunchy crust the first time.



Pizza Margarita (Non-Vegan)
1 ball of pizza dough
1 cup tomato sauce (I made my own, I'll post the recipe sometime)
2 medium balls of fresh mozzarella
2 medium roma tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil






Pre-heat the oven as high it will go. If you have a pizza stone, pop it in too.



Roll the pizza dough out into desired shape and thickness.

Spread on the tomato sauce.

Cut the mozzarella balls and the tomatoes into semi-thin slices.




Place on the mozzarella slices, then top with the tomatoes.

Next lay on the basil leafs. I left them whole but you can chop them up too.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.



My parents said the pizza was delicious. They almost forgot to save my brother a few pieces!




Summer Pizza
1 red pepper
8 asparagus stalks 
1/4 of a small red onion
1 ear of corn 
1 ball of pizza dough
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya)
Fresh basil







Roast the red pepper, either on the grill or under the broiler, until the skin blackens. Once it is cooled, peel off the brunt skin. Then remove the stem and seeds, then chop into strips. Add to a small bowl.






Roast the asparagus, once again either grill or broiler,  just until tender. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add to the bowl.



Remove the corn from the bowl. I suggest doing this in the bowl so the kernels do not fly everywhere.

Cut the onion into slices. Add to the bowl and mix together.





Pre-heat oven as high it will go. If you have a pizza stone, throw it in too.

Roll the dough out into desired shape and thickness.






Spread the olive oil and garlic on the dough, season with some salt.







Top with the veggie mixture.



Sprinkle on the cheese and top with the fresh basil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crunchy. Because it is non-dairy cheese, it will not get bubbly so do not leave it in too long.




Like I said, this pizza had a small accident but what remained was so good. I am so making this pizza again.



BBQ "Chicken" Pizza
1 ball of pizza dough (I use half since it was a mini pizza)
1 cup vegan chicken strips (I used MorningStar Farms)
1/4 white onion, sliced
1/2-3/4 cup BBQ sauce (depending on taste, I like mine saucy but my mom said it was bit much)
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya)




Pre-heat oven as high as it can go. Once again, if you have pizza stone, throw it in.



In a large bowl, mix together the onion slices, chicken strips, and BBQ sauce together well.

Roll the dough out to desired shape and thickness.

Spread the BBQ mixture onto the dough and top with the cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden. Once again, the cheese is not dairy so it will not get bubbly.



I had been craving a BBQ pizza and this was exactly what I wanted. So simple but so good.


Love you mom and dad! May you have many many more anniversaries to come!